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Smarter Parental Controls

If you've been using the parental controls options in Mac OS X to lock your child out of using a particular computer late at night, but would like to employ a more clever technique to limit Internet access, turn to MAC address filtering on an Apple base station.

To do this, launch AirPort Utility, select your base station, and click Manual Setup. In the Access Control view, choose Time Access to turn on MAC filtering. You'll need to enter the MAC address of the particular computer, which (in 10.5 Leopard and 10.6 Snow Leopard) you can find in the Network System Preferences pane: click AirPort in the adapter list, and click Advanced. The AirPort ID is the MAC address.

 
 

AT&T Adds ExpressCard 3G Cell Data Option for MacBook Pro

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MacBook Pro owners have typically had to rely on USB-based modems to use third-generation (3G) cellular networks. Nova Media offers an ExpressCard HSUPA option which can work with a MacBook Pro on AT&T's U.S. 3G network (and tons of networks in Europe), but which costs €299 ($438). The advantage of an ExpressCard is really the form factor, which hides most of the device other than the antenna - sometimes with an external booster option.

AT&T has now introduced what looks to be the same item from device maker Option, but fully within its subsidized grasp. AT&T's GT Ultra Express works with Mac OS X 10.4.10 and later, and costs nothing (after two rebates are sent in) with a two-year subscription to AT&T's data service; that subscription runs $60 per month for unlimited usage. The card will cost $49 with the same contract terms after the second rebate stops being part of a limited-time promotion.


In an unrelated move, Nova Media announced at the same time that their launch2net software (€75/$110) can provide a bit more control over these "new" devices from AT&T than does the free downloadable Mac OS X software. The Nova Media software provides statistics to monitor bandwidth rates and usage, as well as various connection controls.


The timing is nice, because this new card coincides with AT&T's announcement that they would increase upload speeds and add 80 cities (for a total of 350 cities) to their American 3G network deployment. (See "More Mileposts Along Road to 3G iPhone," 2008-02-06. For an explanation of the various technology used in AT&T's network, see "Starbucks Deal Brewed with AT&T Has Hints of Apple," 2008-02-12.)

The GT Ultra Express, along with an identically priced PC Card version called the GT Ultra, is tri-band for 3G flavors and quad-band for EDGE. This lets it work in what AT&T describes as 140 countries - watch those international roaming fees, however!

The Mac OS X software - in one version for 10.4.10, and another for 10.4.11 and 10.5.0 or later - can be downloaded from AT&T's support site.

 

New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as "Tx" for "TextExpander". With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
Mail. <http://smle.us/tetouch3-tb>